- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Costen's syndrome

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Costen described the syndrome as consisting of partial deafness, stuffy sensation in the ears (especially during eating), tinnitus, clicking and snapping of the temporomandibular joint, dizziness, headache, and burning pain in the ears, throat, and nose. Costen ascribed the symptoms to dental malocclusion.

Later investigators disprove Costen’s anatomical and clinical conclusions. According to later studies, the syndrome consists mainly of temporomandibular crepitation, decreased temporomandibular mobility, preauricular and auricular pain, pain on movement, headache, tenderness of the jaws on palpation, and, sometimes, head and nasopharyngeal symptoms.


  • J. B. Costen:
    A syndrome of ear and sinus symptoms dependent upon disturbed function of the temporomandibular joint.
    Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, St. Louis, 1934, 43: 1-15.
  • J. B. Costen:
    Neuralgias and ear symptoms associated with disturbed function of the temporomandibular joint.
    The Journal of the American Medical Association, 1936, 107: 252.
  • R. J. Gorlin, J. J. Pindborg, M. M. Cohen, Jr.:
    Syndromes of the head and neck.
    2nd edition, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1976, pp. 691-693.
  • Stanley Jablonski:
    Jablonski’s Dictionary of Syndromes & Eponymic diseases.
    Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, 1991.

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